Current Exhibition

Movement is Life

March 2, 2024 – June 3, 2024

This year, at the Wharton Esherick Museum (WEM), we are celebrating the creative energy that Wharton Esherick found in the rhythms of life. Throughout 2024, our programs, exhibitions, and events will focus on art as it interacts with the rhythmic aspects of the natural world, inclusive of the human body. Shifting seasons, daily rituals, life cycles, and body mechanics are rhythmic movements that informed Esherick’s work, as they do for contemporary makers today.

Throughout Esherick’s hand crafted Studio, his sense of rhythm rings clear. From the intuitive axe strokes that define his wood sculptures, to the organic patterning of the stonework on the building exterior, he hewed to the tempo of breath and the cadence of landscape. In his desire to make nature his ultimate timekeeper, Esherick pushed against currents of industrialization in the machine-age era when he lived. Movement is Life, our spring exhibition, kicks off a year of programming at WEM that traces the thread of rhythms from the 1920s through the present.

Off the Shelf
Wharton Esherick Museum Book Club

Calling all Esherick fans and readers! Off the Shelf is an Esherick-like twist on the classic book club! It provides the opportunity for bookworms, Esherick fans, and local community members alike to explore Wharton Esherick’s legacy through the artist’s own richly stocked bookshelves, as well as recently published books that illuminate Esherick’s artistic networks and enduring legacy.

Meetings are once a month and take place in Esherick’s 1956 Workshop and features an exclusive look into WEM’s special collections and archives to explore materials related to the month’s book. Discussions will be moderated by friend of the museum, WEM board member, and Director of West Chester University Special Collections, Ron McColl, and will feature occasional guest specialists.

The Mortar Between the Stones: Stories of the Studio

When Wharton Esherick built his sandstone Studio, he shaped the mortar just so, to emphasize the natural qualities of the stones. Similarly, the stories that have collected around the Studio bind together and animate the artworks within. Come share in the artist’s life, loves, friendships, and creative partnerships with a special tour that is built on storytelling. Drawing from WEM’s rich collection of oral histories, the tour brings the Esherick Studio to life through the words of Wharton Esherick and the people who knew him.

This one hour tour offers first-time and repeat visitors alike a complete tour of Esherick’s Studio, plus behind-the-scenes access to stories and accounts that are not part of the general tour, including audio of Esherick himself!

“If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing”  –Wharton Esherick

The Wharton Esherick Museum celebrates and preserves the legacy of American artist Wharton Esherick, who worked primarily in wood to create furniture, furnishings, utensils, interiors, buildings and more.

A National Historic Landmark for Architecture, his hilltop studio/residence, with more than 300 of his works on exhibition, has been preserved much as it was when the artist lived and worked there.

We invite you to visit the Museum through a guided experience for which reservations are required.


Imprint 2024 Exhibition: Rhythms

Imprint 2024 is our 16th annual high school print competition and exhibition!

The Imprint program encourages new generations of young artists in the medium of relief printmaking. For this year’s Imprint exhibition we introduced the theme of ‘Rhythms.’ Much of Esherick’s creative practice was shaped by the actors and dancers who surrounded him. Recognizing the pivotal role that printmaking played in Esherick’s life, we are delighted to once again highlight young artists who represent the future of this powerful medium, with Imprint. We were once again astounded by the skill and creativity of the submissions and send a huge thank you to all the art teachers and students who shared their work with us!

Geocentrism by Brandon Bacordo of Abington Senior High School

“A complete expression of one man’s intensely personal fusion of fine craftsmanship with the wild flights of the imagination.”

Anne d'Harnoncourt, former director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Fun, neat, creative, colorful, comfortable, smooth, flowing, exciting, cool, twisty, wavy, and extraordinary.”

Second graders describe their visit to the Wharton Esherick Museum

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